"Get Out of My Yard" (Sharpnel Records; 2006)

Reviewed by Ray Van Horn Jr.

It used to be that the only guitar rock albums you cared about were by Steve Vai, Tony MacAlpine, Joe Satriani and Eric Johnson. Of course, one of the biggest complaints over time was that the guitar rock album became all flash and little substance. “Satch Boogie” from Satriani’s "Surfing With the Alien" being one of the coolest modern guitar rock songs, and Vai’s “The Audience is Listening” from "Passion and Warfare" being another, both are nonetheless looked back upon as gimmicky by many audiences. So why now this large influx of guitar, bass and synth master instrumental albums when a fair amount of people dismiss them as hour-long slabs of slick musical masturbation?

Well, you’re not really going to shit all over Billy Sheehan, Marty Friedman, Derek Sherinian or Dave Weiner’s instrumental discs, are you? And surely Phil Travers, Tommy Bolin and Rory Gallagher are full of the good stuff as far as guitar rock goes. If you’re reading this, then I probably need not sugarcoat it further, because if Eddie Van Halen suddenly launched an all-instrumental solo disc, I defy any of you to tell me you won’t be licking your chops over the prospect. Paul Gilbert, the former Racer-X and Mr. Big shredder, is a devout Eddie Van Halen fan (in case the song “Three E’s for Edward” doesn’t clue you in). For further proof, there’s an abstract, distorted tinkering with Van Halen’s “Eruption” out the gate with Gilbert’s 1:38 opener “Get Out of My Yard.” 

Still, "Get Out of My Yard" the album is chock full of varying rock and metal instrumentals for Gilbert to recreate in, be it the Vai-esque funk factory that is “Radiator” and “Rusty Old Boat” or the chugging engine that Gilbert himself feels is as close to a Racer-X song, “The Curse of Castle Dragon.” When you add on the southern boogie tinges on “Straight Through the Telephone Pole” that also hearkens some Rory Gallagher, and the alt-rock psychedelia of The Blue Aeroplanes on “The Echo Song,” Paul Gilbert has put forth the extra effort to make this more than just a listenable guitar album.

In short, what Gilbert does astutely on "Get Out of My Yard" is that he creates songs with groove, songs with drive, and on occasion, songs with emotion, as on the cerulean “Marine Layer.” In other words, there’s some humanity breathing inside a construct normally considered by admirers as superhuman. If anything, guitar rock albums have gotten less self-effacing and far more entertaining, and Paul Gilbert exemplifies that it’s the layers beneath, not the icing on the cake that is most important.

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Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.

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Copyright © 2007 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.
Revised: 10 Jul 2022 15:03:28 -0400.